Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An Afterthought on Teaching

Though I am in Malaysia having a great trip, my mind was wandering to the classes I taught in WA. It was an interesting experience because I have never offered a class that was project driven, and this was, after all, a gourd festival. So, some students were a bit taken aback when I began by saying there would be no patterns, no handouts, and no tracing. (I had put sticky glue on their chairs- they could not flee.)

 No.  We would begin by working on paper, not gourds, and we would begin by sponging colors in random strokes, working quickly, and not trying to make a picture.  No pictures please.  Don't make pictures.  No, no pictures.  Just grab the paint and put it down, no rights, no wrongs, no fixes, no erasures, just spontaneous movement of the hand and arm.  Time's up.  Now on to finding the "seed"....and before they knew it, the 4 hours were over and there was no finished gourd in sight.  But almost 100% of the students over 4 days of teaching said they had been excited, inspired by the process, and learned how to see in a new way.  That's enough for me.  They opened themselves and let something new in.  Their surprise inspired me.  It was a great team project even if it didn't involve a finished gourd anything.

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